October 29 - December 15
Ticket packages start at $193.
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The Underlying Chris, a world premiere play from Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno, is a life-affirming and high-spirited look at how a person comes into their identity, and how sometimes it’s life’s tiniest moments that most profoundly change our lives. In these divided times, The Underlying Chris serves as a celebration of our differences, our individuality, and the many mysterious, difficult, and beautiful things we share simply by being alive.
The Underlying Chris is co-commissioned by Center Theatre Group and Second Stage Theater.
WILL ENO (PLAYWRIGHT)
Will Eno is a Residency Five Fellow of the Signature Theatre in New York, which premiered Title and Deed in 2012, The Open House in 2014, and Wakey, Wakey in 2017. Following an acclaimed run at Yale Repertory Theatre, his play The Realistic Joneses appeared on Broadway in 2014, where it won a Drama Desk Award, was named USA Today’s “Best Play on Broadway,” topped the The Guardian’s 2014 list of American plays, and was included in The New York Times’ “Best Theatre of 2014.” The Open House won the 2014 Obie Award, the Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, and a Drama Desk Award, and was included in both the Time Out New York and Time Magazine Top 10 Plays of the Year. The lauded London premiere was directed by Sir Michael Boyd at The Print Room. Title and Deed was on The New York Times’ and The New Yorker’s Top Ten Plays of 2012. His play Gnit, an adaptation of Peer Gynt, premiered at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2013. Middletown, winner of the Horton Foote Award, premiered at the Vineyard Theatre and subsequently at Steppenwolf Theater and many other American theaters and universities. The Canadian premiere, at The Shaw Festival in 2017, received a rapturous response from critics and audiences and was remounted in 2018 in Toronto. His internationally heralded play Thom Pain (based on nothing) ran at the Geffen Playhouse in 2016 and starred Rainn Wilson; this production served as the basis for a film version directed by Oliver Butler and Will, which premiered at the Memphis Film Festival and is available to stream on BroadwayHD. The play was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He was recently awarded the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Award. His plays are published by Samuel French, TCG, Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts, and Oberon Books.
KENNY LEON (DIRECTOR)
Kenny Leon is a Tony Award winning Broadway and film director. His Broadway credits include the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun, starring Denzel Washington (Tony Award Winner for Best Direction of a Play and Best Revival); American Son, starring Kerry Washington; The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett; Stick Fly, produced by Alicia Keys; August Wilson's Fences (which garnered ten Tony nominations and won three Tony Awards including Best Revival); the 2004 revival of A Raisin in the Sun, with Sean P. Diddy Combs; Gem of the Ocean; Radio Golf; and the 2014 premiere of Holler if You Hear Me, a new musical created using the music of Tupac Shakur. Leon's recent film work includes “In My Dreams" for Hallmark Hall of Fame, "The Watsons go to Birmingham" for Walden Media and Hallmark, and the Sony and Lifetime TV adaptation of "Steel Magnolias.” Leon is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2010 Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing by the Drama League of New York. Mr. Leon is the Artistic Director of Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to co-founding True Colors Theatre Company, he served 11 years as Artistic Director of the Alliance Theatre, where he produced the premieres of Disney's Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida, Pearl Cleage's Blues for an Alabama Sky, and Alfred Uhry's The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Other directorial credits include Alicia Keys World Tour, Toni Morrison's opera, Margaret Garner, the world premiere of Flashdance, The Musical, and the complete August Wilson Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center. Leon is a sought-after motivational speaker that has done acting and theatre workshops at universities and corporate offices around the country, South Africa and Ireland. He has directed in England, and extensively throughout the US, including Chicago's Goodman Theatre, Boston's Huntington Theatre, Baltimore's Center Stage, Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group, and New York's Public Theatre. Leon is a graduate of Clark Atlanta and is an honorary Ph.D. recipient of Clark Atlanta and Roosevelt Universities. He is currently serving as the Denzel Washington Chair at Fordham University.
Broadway: The Father, A Man for All Seasons. Off-Broadway credits include: Fairview (2019 Pulitzer Prize), Venus, The Moors (Lucille Lortel nom.), Men on Boats, Grounded (Drama Desk nom.), 3C, Compulsion, Pumpgirl. Regional: World premieres of The Moors, Marie Antoinette, Compulsion, Sarah Ruhl’s Three Sisters, and In the Next Room, or the vibrator play. TV: “Madam Secretary,” “The Good Fight,” “The Path,” “Mr. Robot,” “Happyish,” “The Leftovers,” “Law & Order: CI.” Film: The Surrogate, Luce (upcoming). Training: MFA, NYU.
Broadway: M. Butterfly, Six Degrees of Separation, Wit, Mary Stuart, Night Must Fall, Holiday, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, A Few Good Men and Face Value. Recent Off-Broadway: A Man for All Seasons, Privacy, The Open House (Drama Desk Award), Bluebird, Equivocation, Shipwrecked! Film: Spotlight, True Story, Burn After Reading, P.S. I Love You, Che, The Namesake, among others. Television includes: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “The Path,” “Boardwalk Empire” (SAG Nomination), “The Americans,” “The Girlfriend Experience,” “Elementary,” “Billions,” “The Sopranos.”
Ebony Jo-ann is an award-winning actress and acclaimed vocalist. Theater: Original Broadway and revival productions of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Gem of the Ocean, Drowning Crow, The Sunshine Boys, Sheila’s Day (co-author), Mule Bone, The Waiting Room, Lost in the Stars, Bubblin’ Brown Sugar, The Wiz, Satchmo, and Sanctified. TV: “I Am the Night” (TNT) and “Difficult People” (Hulu). Film: Grown Ups 1 & 2, Kate & Leopold, Pootie Tang, and Fly By Night. Her Blues Blast nominated Please Save Your Love for Me is available on all streaming services.
Lenne Klingaman is thrilled to make her Second Stage debut. Broadway: Waitress (Dawn). 1st National Tour: Waitress (Dawn – original cast). Selected regional: record-breaking run of Hamlet (as Hamlet, Colorado Shakes), A.R.T., Berkeley Rep, Denver Center, Shakespeare Theatre, South Coast Rep. TV/Web: “Chicago Med,” “Cold Case,” “Welcome to Sanditon.” MFA in Acting - University of Washington. You can find her on Instagram (@lenne03) and her debut album on iTunes.
Broadway: The Humans, All My Sons, Doubt, The Price, Picnic, The Heiress, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Crimes of the Heart (Theatre World, Outer Circle Critics, and Hollywood Drama-logue Awards). Off-Broadway: The Wayside Motor Inn (Drama Desk Award), Bull In a China Shop, Domesticated, Sons of the Prophet, Durang Durang, Tales of the Lost Formicans, Kate’s Diary.
Second Stage debut. TV: "Orange is The New Black," "Instinct," "Random Acts of Flyness," "Elementary," "Bull," "Jessica Jones," "Law and Order: CI," "Law and Order: SVU," "30 Rock". Broadway: Marvin's Room (Roundabout), The Book of Mormon (Eugene O'Neill Theatre). New York: A Life (Playwrights Horizons), Mr. Burns (Playwrights Horizons), Lost Lake (MTC). Regional: The Old Globe, Cleveland Playhouse. Nedra holds an MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School and is on faculty at Pace School of Performing Arts. nedramcclyde.com @nedramcfly
Broadway: Saint Joan, Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington, A Free Man of Color, Richard III with Sam Mendes. Off-Broadway: Passage, YellowMan, Never the Sinner, Beauty On The Vine, Cost of Living. Most Recent: King John (Folger Theatre), Evanston Salt Costs Climbing (White Heron Theatre), View From the Bridge (CTG, Kennedy Center), King Lear (The Guthrie). Film: You Were Never Here, Pride and Glory, Body Of Lies, Lost Cat Corona, Grand Street. TV: “Fosse/Verdon,” “Blue Bloods,” “Bull,” “The Affair,” “Elementary,” “White Collar,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent and SVU,” “Kings.” 2018 Lunt Fontanne Fellow.
Broadway: School of Rock (OBC, Summer Hathaway). Off-Broadway: Mother of Invention (Ryder), School of Rock (Summer Hathaway). TV/Film: HBO’s “Crashing” (Kimberly), Lucy In The Sky (Annabelle), co-starred with John Legend & Chrissy Teigen in “The Toycracker” (Clara), TONY Awards 2016, “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2015,” “The View,” “Good Morning America.” Proud SAG/AEA member. Twitter: @IsabellaKRusso. Instagram: Iamisabellarusso. www.officialisabellarusso.com
Broadway: The Little Foxes, The Gin Game, You Can’t Take It With You, The Trip to Bountiful, Dividing the Estate and On Golden Pond. Off-Broadway: The Orphans’ Home Cycle (Signature Theatre), The Play About the Baby (with Marian Seldes). Regional: King Lear, Fences, The Oedipus Plays (D.C. Shakespeare & Athens Festival). Awards: Recently honored with Broadway Salutes Medal for 35 years of Broadway Credits. Drama Desk, AUDELCO. Film/TV: The Village, “Madam Secretary,” “Chappelle’s Show.”
Theater: The Humans (National Tour), Tell Hector I Miss Him (Atlantic Theater Company), Where Storms Are Born and A Streetcar Named Desire (Williamstown), The Underpants (Old Globe), Seize the King (La Jolla Playhouse), As You Like It (The Guthrie), i thought i would die but i didn't (New Georges/The Tank), Romeo and Juliet (Back Room Shakespeare Project). Film/TV: “Jack Ryan” (Amazon), “Madam Secretary” (CBS), Another Earth (Fox Searchlight), Chinese Puzzle (dir. Cédric Klapisch). MFA from UC San Diego.